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How To Clean Out A Storage Auction Unit

November 02, 2015
Woman standing by storage unit door.
(Photo Credit: AndThenWeWereSaved)

A storage auction buyer has 24-48 hours to clean out their locker.

First, you need patience to properly sort your merchandise. If you rush, you could accidentally throw away an item that has value or could be recycled for cash.

If you need an extra day, talk to the manager of the facility and usually they will grant you an extension. You are not allowed to throw away any item into the facility’s dumpster. You bought it all. You must haul it all away. Good product and trash.

Tools to use:

1. Gloves
2. Knife or Box Cutter
3. Small Broom
4. Wide Broom
5. Small or Large Dustpan
6. Heavy Duty Trash bags
7. Bacterial Soap
8. Packing Tape
9. Boxes

First, put on your gloves. You may wear plastic or leather or heavy-duty puncture/cut resistant gloves. Next, set aside work space outside the locker. You will need space for trash, recycle and donations. The items you know you can resell will go onto a pick-up truck, cargo van or boxed truck.


Take your box cutter or knife and carefully cut into any box that is sealed. It’s possible the box is cramped with valuable material or fragile collectibles to the very top. If you find items that are bubble wrapped, be sure to cut through the packing with care. Then use your packing tape to re-wrap the items and seal boxes.

Once satisfied with what you can resell; begin to use your boxes to sort valuables. You may use the boxes in your storage auction unit if they are sturdy and not ripped. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to bring new boxes, which you can usually purchase at the facility.

Use your heavy duty trash bags for anything deemed as non-recyclable or cannot donate. You may go through the plastic bins in the same manner.

Garbage bags

Grab any garbage bag you can reach and carefully sort through the items. Usually you’ll find clothes or trash. Remember to recycle to convert trash into cash. That includes paper items such as letters and envelopes.

Before you toss out an envelope, check the postage stamp. The older the rarer may hold monetary value. Garbage bags may also contain loose change and even paper currency. Empty out the entire garbage bag before you toss trash inside.

With clothing, check each pockets. It’s commonplace to store jewelry or currency inside pockets. Any stained or ripped clothing you cannot donate nor resell. However, you can recycle it.

According to the non-profit Institute for Local Self-Reliance:

“Textiles make up about four percent of the weight and eight percent of the volume of all municipal solid waste in the U.S. Ninety-nine percent of used textiles are recyclable.”


Poor, good, to excellent quality and condition. It is easy to resell quality furniture but much more difficult to resell cheap furniture or pieces in broken condition. You can donate wood which is used to produce unique eco-friendly furniture. Or you can upcycle a piece of furniture if you have DIY skills. If you do not possess DIY skills nor wish to learn, you can resell home furnishings to locals in your area who do upscale.

Household Goods

Pots, pans, small and large appliances are the bulk of what you will find in storage auction units. If it’s in working condition, you can resell it. If it’s broken, look into the cost of repairs. Better to sell a working washer than to recycle one.

Once you have removed all items from the locker, it’s time to broom sweep. For small lockers you can use a standard home size broom and dustpan. For large storage lockers, use a push broom along with a wide mouth dust pan.

Every square inch of that locker must be swept clean of debris, broken glass, dust, dirt and any spillage of liquids. You will place all debris inside the heavy duty trash bags you brought. Again, you cannot use the facility’s dumpster. You must haul the trash away with you.

Once the unit is swept, go to the office and get the manager. He or she will then refund the cleaning deposit if the unit looks ready for rental.

• If you toss items you can recycle, you’ve lost money.
• If you toss items you can donate, you’ve lost a tax break.

To sweep clean a storage unit is easy. The hard part is to understand what items you should resell, donate or recycle.


How To Recycle

How To Resell Clothing

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